Talisman was highly recommended to us and we were excited to go out the one and only time while in Nairobi. I was not very impressed, unfortunately. It was okay. We had a dinner for six, with two kids. We were a little late for our reservation, but it was not a problem for the friendly hostess even though it was a busy Saturday night. The parking lot and restaurant were packed. We were seated at a round table that was much too large for six people, and the restaurant so noisy that you couldn't talk to the person across the table truly without yelling. The restaurant seating, as far as I could tell, was completely outdoors. We all wore jackets with mufflers, but still it was very chilly. The warm ambiance and cozy decor was amplified by the patio heaters and chimeneas. Unfortunately for us, despite several requests, no heater was ever placed near us and so we ended up shivering throughout dinner. I saw staff moving heaters around to different tables, but even though they said they would bring one over they just ignored our requests. Our waiter and his helper were very professional and prompt, and responsive and flexible.
I was not thrilled with the food. We ordered a variety of items because the menu is so ecclectic and enticing. Sashimi: average; pork bellies: average, although the asian glaze on the accompanying veggies was superb; tuna carpaccio salad: very good; beets salad: appalling, there were but four tiny little beets on an anemic bed of arugula with a couple of blue cheese cubes; hamburger: delicious; chicken curry: decent, but nothing extraordinary; chicken wings: decent, but nothing more than bar food without any sauce or accompaniment; soup: nothing special.
My child ordered the burger. He specially requested a plain burger, explaining in detail that he did not want anything on it. The description of the burger in the menu is mouthwatering, with a compliment of delicious toppings. My son did not want toppings, and I felt sure the waiter understood this. However, when the burger arrived, it was not plain, but instead included all the toppings. This did not distress my kid too much, but it irritated me. It could not be easier than to serve a plain burger. It could not be easier to check that the order is right before serving it.
The wine list was not extensive, but very good and well priced. We were very happy with our choices. We had an after dinner drink in the bar, which was lively and fun. The bartenders and waiters were super attentive and fun. It was the best part of the night.
Overall, I am glad that we went to this restaurant. It was still a lovely evening. Maybe my standards are too high given the high, high level of service and quality of food we had been accustomed to throughout our journey through Africa.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
January 12, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to leave your detailed comments on your Talisman experience. We are definitely insanely busy on weekends, and Friday and Saturday nights you can expect a big crowd and noise. It's really just a part of the weekend buzz at Talisman. Very sorry to hear you never got a jiko to help take the chill off the evening air, though. We're working to make sure everyone on staff is quick and attentive, but it's quite possible with such a big crowd that the request got jumbled or lost in the process. We'll be sure to keep a lookout for that in the future.
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We were surprised at your assessment of Talisman's food, as that's our pride and joy. Chef Marcus works to make sure each dish is beautifully presented and delicious--and he's famous for his pork belly. The whole kitchen staff takes pride in what we serve, and we're constantly working to kick things up a notch.
We'll be remodeling the kitchen this year and really beefing up our staff training so we can achieve even more. We'd love for you to stop by and try us again next time you're in Kenya. Karibu!
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.